The Solvent

A judge has just struck down the controversial components of the notorious Arizona anti-immigration law, SB1070. I heard that in the middle of a discussion with the writer of a book on a Muslim Indian becoming a great French chef (Richard Morais’ The Hundred Foot Journey). The part about the young man seeing a hog butchered in France and realizing his calling to cook would have to overcome his religious upbringing brought to mind my Pakistani friends.

Here is a divide in our culture, part of the culture wars. On one side people say the foreigners are bringing their foreign ways that will undermine our culture. On the other side, people pooh-pooh that and point to what immigrants contribute to the society. A real point on the pro-immigrant side is that even if you don’t like immigrant cultures, don’t worry b/c by the third generation it’ll all be gone or just about gone. Grandma will be called nonna or nana and on holidays ethnic foods will be prepared – and if religion is involved, there’ll be battles over ethnic-based churches “diluted” by new-comers of other ethnic groups.

What disturbs me is that so many of our immigrants go into high tech jobs whose educational requirements just about preclude a broad education….. or what some of us just call “an education”. This allows them to live in a bubble where their children, simply by being of X origin, will retain X culture while acquiring just enough of our culture to allow them to get a good job. My friend’s parents travel all over the world but never try local food; they always find an Indian restaurant to eat in. That’s the bubble I am referring to.

So what happens? Their children get gob-smacked by school culture, media culture, peer culture, etc. And you have the seeds of family conflict and a good deal of unncecessary unhappiness. I don’t think it affects our society but it does affect individual families.

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